[US] Supreme Court Rules Gay And Lesbian People Cannot Be Fired For Sexuality

16 JUN 2020

President Trump was carefully neutral in his acknowledgement of a “very powerful” decision by the U.S. Supreme court in a landmark case protecting the employment rights of gays and transgender people. He said yesterday that the government will “live with” the decision, Mail Online reports.

Hours after the ruling Trump told White House reporters, “They’ve ruled and we’ll live with the decision.”

The President called the landmark ruling a “very powerful decision actually” without declaring whether he was in agreement with the court's reasoning on this, a case where the majority chose to disregard the arguments put forward by his administration.

The High Court ruled on June 15 that civil rights law protects gay and lesbian people from discrimination in employment. This represents a significant win for LGBTQ rights from a conservative court.

With a 6-3 vote, the court decided that a key provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (known as Title VII) barring job discrimination because of sex, among other reasons, does include and cover bias against gay and lesbian workers.

Justice Neil Gorsuch - a Trump appointee - authored the majority opinion. He was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts.  

Justice Gorsuch wrote, “An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex.”

He continued, “Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”

The 6-3 ruling represented the biggest moment for LGBTQ rights in the United States since the legalisation of same-sex marriage nationwide by the Supreme Court in 2015. 

The Supreme Court cases reportedly involved two gay men and a transgender woman - Don Zarda, Gerald Bostock and Aimee Stephens -- who sued for employment discrimination after losing their jobs. Only Mr Bostock lived long enough to witness the historic ruling.

LGBTQ rights have become a divisive issue under the Trump administration. The president has rolled back some significant initiatives, like the right for trans people to enlist in the military.

And last week a rollback of guidance which protected trans people from facing discrimination in healthcare was announced. The protection was implemented during President Obama’s administration. 

Justice Gorsuch noted that the June 15 decision is unlikely to be the Supreme Court's final word on a host of issues concerning LGBTQ rights.

Lawsuits are pending over transgender athletes´ participation in school sporting events and courts continue to deal with cases about sex-segregated bathrooms and locker rooms, a subject of concern to the justices during arguments in October. Additionally, employers professing religious objections to employing LGBTQ people might be able to raise those claims in a different case, he wrote.

“But none of these other laws are before us; we have not had the benefit of adversarial testing about the meaning of their terms, and we do not prejudge any such question today,” Justice Gorsuch concluded.

Source: Mail Online

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